The Stage industry newspaper has announced the host , performers and presenters for its forthcoming 2022 Debut Awards.
The Awards, which take place on Sunday 18 September 2022 at 8 Northumberland Avenue in London, celebrate the best breakthrough talent in West End theatre, from actors and directors to designers, writers, composers and lyricists, all of whom have made their professional debuts in the past two years.
The host will be actor Susan Wokoma, who won a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2017, the same year she made her West End theatre debut in the Olivier Award-winning comedy Labour of Love. Her other stage credits include playing Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre; and her film and TV credits include E4’s Chewing Gum, Netflix’s Enola Holmes, E4/Netflix’s Crazyhead, and she recently she led the cast of BBC One’s Cheaters.
Wokoma said: “I am absolutely THRILLED to host The Stage Debut Awards and welcome all the fresh faced theatre huns into our magical world. It’s so important to lift up young talent as well as people of any age conquering theatre for the first time. YOU ARE ALL WELCOME! See you on 18th September!”
Presenters of the awards will include Amanda Abbington (Sherlock) who will give out Best Performer in a Play; Olivier and Tony Award-nominated director Jamie Lloyd (The Seagull) who will present Best Director; singer, songwriter and performer Louise Redknapp (Fatal Attraction, 9 to 5), presenting Best Creative West End Debut; Scottish actress Sharon Small (The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, GOOD at the Harold Pinter Theatre) presenting Best West End Debut Performer; Olivier Award-winning singer and actor Matt Henry (The Drifters Girl at the Garrick Theatre) who will present Best Performer in a Musical; award-winning theatre designer Anna Fleischle (John Gabriel Borkman at the Bridge Theatre; 2:22 – A Ghost Story at the Criterion Theatre) presenting Best Designer; Best Writer will be presented by critically acclaimed playwright Roy Williams OBE; and singer, performer and Strictly Come Dancing winner Jay McGuiness, will present Best Composer, Lyricist or Book Writer.
Performances will include Sam Tutty (Dear Evan Hansen at the Noel Coward Theatre); Shan Ako (Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre), who will sing an original song by Jim Barnes and Kit Buchan, who won The Stage Debut Awards’ Best Composer, Lyricist or Book Writer prize in 2020; and Natalie Paris, an original cast member and previous queen of Six the Musical at the Vaudeville Theatre.
This year’s nominees include Jodie Comer for Prima Facie the Harold Pinter Theatre; Emma Corrin (Orlando) for Anna X the Harold Pinter Theatre; Sutton Foster for Anything Goes at the Barbican; and Ben Joyce (Back to the Future) for Jersey Boys at Trafalgar Studios
The inaugural The Stage Debut Awards took place in 2017. Previous winners include Sam Tutty (Dear Evan Hansen), Miriam-Teak Lee (& Juliet), Jac Yarrow (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Bush Theatre artistic director Lynette Linton, and composers Femi Temowo (Death of a Salesman) and Dan Gillespie Sells (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie).
A judging panel has selected the nominees, and winners will be decided by a public vote. Voting closes on 4 September 2022, and you can vote here.
The judges were journalist for Deadline, Baz Bamigboye; journalist for The Stage and critic for Variety, David Benedict; playwright and critic, Dave Fargnoli; writer Angelo Irving; forthcoming The Stage critic Sam Marlowe; editor of The Stage, Alistair Smith; and theatre critic of The Stage and soon to be International Editor, Natasha Tripney.
You can watch the ceremony live at 6pm on Sunday 18 September 2022 on The Stage’s Facebook page (see link below).